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March 16, 2021

Get engaged in Net Zero Nation

For years, the Climate Challenge Fund has been the single biggest mechanism for acknowledging and supporting the contribution of communities in tackling climate change.  Not to underplay the contribution made by CCF, but there has long been a perception within Scottish Government that the role of the citizen in this respect is at the margins. Thankfully that perception is beginning to shift. The Citizens Climate Assembly has just concluded and an important consultation on how the general public should become engaged in Scottish Government’s mission to become a Net Zero Nation concludes later this month. Well worth a look.

Scottish Government

Transforming Scotland into a net zero nation by 2045 presents an opportunity to re-imagine the nation we live in. Whilst there is no denying the significant challenge we face in addressing the global climate emergency, it brings with it a chance to create a better, fairer, and more inclusive society for everyone: a society in which individuals and communities across Scotland are actively involved in making the decisions that affect them.

This widespread participation and engagement is essential if we are to successfully limit the effects of climate change, prepare for the impacts that are already locked in, and harness the opportunities to innovate and adapt to a changing climate. We must also include the twin challenge of biodiversity loss and how this interlinks with our work on mitigating and adapting to climate change.

In this strategy, we set out our framework for engaging the people of Scotland in this challenge. By putting our people at the heart of everything we do, we aim to enable and empower everyone in Scotland to be a part of shaping our transition in a just and fair way, building a social mandate for the societal transformation needed to become a net zero nation.

It has been seven years since our previous strategy, Low Carbon Scotland: A Behaviours Framework, was published. In that time much has changed, most recently due to the effect of COVID-19, which has altered all of our lives in many ways.

It is essential that individuals and communities are involved in ensuring a green recovery from COVID-19, and the objectives and principles set out in this strategy apply to our approach to engagement on a green recovery as well as to wider engagement on climate change, including our just transition to a net zero society.

It is also an exceptional time for our international engagement on climate action ahead of the UN Climate Summit – COP26 – taking place in Glasgow in 2021. This strategy will support us to make the most of this opportunity for engagement and to ensure COP26 places people at its heart.

Our intended audience for this strategy is primarily communicators of climate change. We recognise that government are not, and cannot, be the only ones who engage with the public on this matter. Addressing climate change will be a truly national endeavour. We wish to work collaboratively and consistently alongside trusted messengers to ensure that the public are put at the heart of our national approach. 

In this document, we set out a framework for engaging the public and encouraging action over the next 3-5 years, including the actions which the Scottish Government are taking to help encourage this.